Bird Park (Flying High Bird Sanctuary)

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Pair of Major Mitchell cockatoo birds on a stump, one of them inside a hollow, taken at the Flying High Bird Sanctuary at Apple Tree Creek

The Flying High Bird Sanctuary is the largest free-flight aviary in Australia, over 7 metres high and around 2 acres to walk through and interact with the birds.

First opening in 2002 as the Flying High Bird Habitat with only the main aviary, Flying High Bird Sanctuary has expanded with additional aviaries, a macaw breeding complex, and an outdoor Australian animal area with kangaroos, emus, and black swans.

Black Cockatoo, at the Flying High Bird Sanctuary

Entering the sanctuary from the parking area is along a corridor of galahs, cockatoos and other parrots greeting you before arriving at the gift shop. Their vocabulary includes the expected “hello”, then they say things like “can I come out?” and you wonder if you hear them right and wait for them to say it again.

After purchasing the entry tickets from the gift shop, you enter the main aviary and greeted with a ruckus of bird sounds and birds flying around the enclosure.

Macaw, at the Flying High Bird Sanctuary

Within the main aviary there are a number of enclosures within, the first you come to is Macaw Manor. There were three in the enclosure, they were loud and demanding attention. Well, one of them was, the other two looked like they were trying to keep to themselves pretending they are not related to the noisy one attracting undue attention.

Many of the birds will come by you, some prefer to stay away and keep their distance, then there are the odd few that will come right up to you. There was a cockatiel that spent a lot of time with us and bowed his head to give him a scratch. He’d leave and seek us out again.

A variety of parrots were flying around with each other, unlike in the wild where you generally see them only amongst their own breed.

Red Rosella, at Flying High Bird Sanctuary

Two birds that stood out to me the most were the bleeding heart dove and a red and white rosella. The rosella had a genetic defect, I guess like being albino except the red colour remained and all the other colours were white. It proved to be rather elusive so unfortunately, we didn’t get a great close up photo.

Bleeding Heart Dove, at Flying High Bird Sanctuary

The bleeding heart dove is a ground-based dove with a red patch on their chest which runs down the body giving the illusion it is bleeding. They didn’t readily come to you which made it challenging to get a photo of their chest, but there were a few around so with a bit of patience we got some photos.

On one side a separate section had owls. The tawny frogmouth, which isn’t actually an owl but has a similar appearance and is nocturnal like an owl, created a challenge for my boys to find them as they blended into their environment. It is difficult to see where the log ends and the bird starts.

The tawny frogmouth stay still and silent, but not the barking owl. It came over to us and made its woopwoop sounds. The barking owl had our attention for a while waiting for it to make its sound again.

Part way around the main aviary, the Kangaroo and Emu encounter heads outside of the aviary and into open fields. We ran into difficulties getting out of the aviary with a black swan squatting at the door and refusing to budge.

The black swan eventually let us through and followed us around for a while until we got near the geese. They were quite protective of their young and postured aggressively. They didn’t nip at us but they nipped at the other animals and the black swan no longer followed us.

The emus had their own enclosure but could come right up to you. They were curious and hung around near us for quite a while.

Kangaroo and Black Swan, at Flying High Bird Sanctuary

The kangaroos mostly kept to themselves. One small kangaroo was happy to come over to us and let us pet it and the black swan came over and rejoined with us.

As we were leaving, a bird decided we shouldn’t be and took guard at the ramp to stop us walking out. Mostly, it was just making noise and flying back and forth from one side of the ramp to the other. It had one of my sons a little worried as he gets worried about birds generally, but we were allowed to walk up the ramp once we started to move.

To get there:

Brown sign for Bird Park, white sign for Old Creek Rd, Blue sign for Pony Club
If coming into Apple Tree Creek heading north from Childers on the Bruce Hwy, when entering the town area, take the first right into Old Creek Road with the brown sign for Bird Park. The entrance is less than 100m on the left.

If coming into Apple Tree Creek heading south from Bundaberg on Childers Rd or Gin Gin on the Bruce Hwy, when Childers Rd and Bruce Hwy merge together, continue through the Childers township for 1.1km and turn left into Old Creek Road with the brown sign for Bird Park. The entrance is less than 100m on the left.

Cost: Adult $20.00, Child (5-13) $10.00, Concession $17.00, Family (2 Adults, 2 Children) $56.00

Hours: Mon-Fri 8am-4pm, Sun 8am-4pm

Toilets: Yes

Bins: No

Tables: No

Seating: No

Water: No

Food: No, basic snacks and drinks

Wheelchair accessible: Yes, there are ramps and the walking trail in the aviary is flat. Assistance may be required for some.

Pets: No, guide dogs accepted

BBQ: No

Playground: No


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